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Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two (Read 2517 times)
TroutQuest
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Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Jul 6th, 2006, 6:58am
 
Golden Trout Project: Casa Vieja Fence Repair Project
 
Okie Dokie, time to hit the mountains again, for a quest out to the great GTW: Golden Trout Wilderness.  My wife graciously agreed to go on the trip, prolly to watch over her old man.  The day started with an early work day, going in at 5 am and back to the house by 1030.  See ya kids, its adult play time.  We hooked up the tent trailer and headed North to the wonderful expanse called the Sierras.  In only 3 and a half hours, we were at a small town – a gas station stop really- called Piersonville, along the southern part of the 395.  Gas, drinks, and now up the hill.  
 

 
The directions which we obtained from a quite informative book called ‘Hiking the Golden Trout Wilderness’ which can be purchased at REI or on Amazon.com.  Also, Lisa S, our coordinator, provided several maps via email, what to wear, what to bring(work gloves), etc.
 

 
Along the way, there’s Grumpy Bear, closed going, but good for a tasty egg sandwich on the way home 3 days later.  
 

 
We were able to drive to the ranger station directly, and searched for a good place to camp.  Shortly after we arrived, Maria shows up looking official in her overlarge Forestry green jacket.  Her doggie checked us out and gave her the highpaw.  As the afternoon passed, more folks showed up: Gerry, Gary, Phil, to name some.  Everybody set up tents along the hillside, and braced themselves for some fishing… um, fence repairs in the morning.  
 

 
Next day was orientation, with that compulsory lecture about how we are all F&G employees for the day, or some such stuff.  (Anyone for a workers comp tetnus shot by days’ end?)  Then the trek down to Casa Vieja.  Its about 2 miles and beautiful in every way – especially going down.  
 
Here’s Lee, one of the packers, and his three mules coming back from depositing a cache of fence poles and supplies down at the meadow.
 

 
The meadow was very large, quite deceiving because the surrounding trees were so tall and dwarfed one’s sense of perspective.
 

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« Last Edit: Jul 6th, 2006, 7:44am by TroutQuest »  
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TroutQuest
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part Two
Reply #1 - Jul 6th, 2006, 7:03am
 
We learned how to string barbwire, gather it up, and walk around trying to look like fishercowboys.  Here’s Phil gathering up the barbwire.  
 

 
Gary and I were on the pole-digging team, so we were jamming this contraption called a fencepoledigger into the meadow.  Naturally, the fence poles that were in most in need of replacing were in the boggiest parts.  Oh, the taste of cowmeadow sludge, sploshing up not so small aliquots of yummy alpine cow mixture to cover one’s face.  It was hard work for us, especially at the high altitude.  Luckily, my hole digger partner and I alternated nicely, and the holes got dug.  Nice English, huh?  
 

 
Of course, there was time at lunch for fishing.  And time in the morning if you left earlier, and, oh yea, time at the end of the day too.  
 
A most remarkable event occurred, one which I believe will never be forgotten.  A huge hail storm.  Think of it, miles of high altitude open expanse, filled with falling hail –  sheets of loud pellets - sometimes when there was bright sun directly overhead.  
 

 
Temp about 75, 80 degrees.  Funny thing was you could work in it, as it just bounced off you, and you didn’t get wet by it.  Each drop of frozen rain was about the size of a large corn kernel.  
 
 
 
Some folks continued to work thru it, but I confess: I called it quits when the thunder kicked in.  No, no flyrod for some quikie goldens, time to climb the 1,000 foot elevation, 2 mile trail back to base camp; blackrock ranger trailhead.  That night, we had a huge potluck around a nice fire kindly started by Maria and Kym.  
 
Another volunteer was referencing some trout meadows NE of Kernville and I told him I’d bring a map to the potluck to compare notes.  Sometime later, I was conversing with Christie McGuire, F&G Biologist about the California Trout Challenge, and how this simple program has changed my lifestyle.   She said, “Well, I could tell you were you could catch some of those Upper Kern Trout, but…ah, shucks, I couldn’t explain it to you, you’d need to see it on a map.  PRESTO!!!  I whip out my map I had taken up earlier, and got some juicy info on a new hotspot.      Ah, I guess its who you know too!
 
Naturally, trout stories flowed as freely as the beer and by the end of the night, we were all telling stories of Moby proportions.  I nodded politely to some of the oldtimers, never realizing that Goldens grew to 30 lbs!  Speaking of age, one ‘seasonal’, Kelly, kept making remarks about us ‘old folks’.  Well, the ‘other’, older, old folks in any event.  FYI Kelly, folks over 40 are better, stronger, and faster than you adolescents!!  In fact, I officially challenge you to a foot race next year, down the trail.  Loser does the dishes.
 

 
 
Maria’s the blond, Kelly’s the one without the hat, next year I’ll have a pic of her doing dishes.  Here’s a shot of the race course.

 
 
Anyway… next AM shown brightly and we were down the trail for more fence repairs.  Basically, we put up this fence on the East side of the Meadow to keep the cows out of the natural trout habitat.  We worked all day, again, with fishing during lunch and after.  Everybody who fished landed several nice specimens.  Here’s some nice photos of the type of brook and terrain.
 


 
This meadow creek feeds the South Fork of the Kern.  Although this fish population is said to be hybridized with the ubiquitous rainbow, here’s a nice shot of a golden that looks quite pure.  I think all told, I caught 11 goldens in about 1 hour total of fishing.
 

 
The night of the second work day, we had another large campfire potluck.  
After the potluck, Kym and I retreated to the tent trailer, wondering how much Motrin to take in preparation for the morning’s soreness.  We had a nightcap with one of the law school interns from Trout Unlimited and traded some DEAD concert stories.  
 
The stars were amazing.  Many folks stayed to finish up a third day, or to fish and explore all day.  We had kids to get back too, and were looking forward to hot showers.
 
For those of you reading this who have yet to do a TU or Golden Trout Project, consider this a life-time event.  Get up and volunteer.  Great scenary, great peeps, great fishing.  Conservation follows one of my mottos: what goes around comes around.  Its bankable karma.  To all the folks on the trip, agencies, and, of course, the trout - thank you for making this one of our most memorable times!!!!
 

 
Mike and Kym Z
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NewsletterPeg
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #2 - Jul 6th, 2006, 9:10am
 
Great report and awesome pics.  It certainly is beautiful country up there!
 
Thanks for sharing!
 
Peg
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #3 - Jul 6th, 2006, 10:04am
 
Thanks TQ  Grin  I am interested in these type projects. It took a bit of reading to get to the pics, but like a good movie, you build up to it with a great story! Grin
    Not a pics movie Wink but a movie movie.
Thanks for the report on a beautiful place.  
 8)Tim
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #4 - Jul 6th, 2006, 10:23am
 
Thanks for the report and thanks for your effort to do some hard dirty work that directly supports our golden trout.
 
Richard
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #5 - Jul 6th, 2006, 5:37pm
 
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #6 - Jul 6th, 2006, 7:44pm
 
Mike and Kym,
First of all, thank-you for taking the time to help take-care of our environment.  I've done a few of these projects with TU in the past.  I enjoyed reading your report and looking at the awesome pics.  Thanks for sharing.  BTW if you enjoy doing the above and want to help protect and preserve our southland fisheries you might want to check the following site www.frvc.org .  I'm a member of this group too.  Take-care.
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two[IMG]ht
Reply #7 - Jul 6th, 2006, 8:46pm
 
Thanks for the report and the volunteer work, and not in that order!  
 
Next time bring a
 
Jon  Grin Grin
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #8 - Jul 6th, 2006, 8:46pm
 
Mike:
 
   Great report and wonderful photos!!!
 
   I've been selected to to work the six day 'Golden Project' at Golden Trout Creek - August 15 thru 20.  The goal of this work detail is monitoring the fish population by electro shocking the creek.  Information regarding the current habitat condition and the condition of the fish (size, growth, population) will be collected and compared with data from previous years.
 
   Perhaps I can take a few photos and write up a project report similar to yours after I return.
 
   Cyberfish
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Topwater_Terry
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Man,  that looks like some
Reply #9 - Jul 7th, 2006, 11:04am
 
fairly hard work but also looks like a whole lot of fun.  I'm going to have to get in on one of the projects next year.  By buddies who I usually fly fish with are working too much this summer (who in the world would do something rediculous like that)  so I haven't even gotten to the Sierras yet this year  (maybe I need new flyfishing buddies!).  I'll have to watch closer for next year's schedule when it's announced,  they look like really great chances to do some good.
Terry
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #10 - Jul 12th, 2006, 10:50pm
 
Thanks, Mike, for the great write-up of the trip!  I sure appreciated every one's help out there - you all were great three-day Forest Service employees - and no tetnus shots were needed!  Marya (aka Maria) and I agreed that this was one of our best trips yet - and looking forward to many more.  This is some great restoration and helps protect the quality of the water as it travels downstream through other awesome fish habitat.  The fencing exclosure also is used to protect habitat for the mountain yellow-legged frog, all pieces of the interactive ecosystem of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Thanks again for all your dedication to these important parts of the puzzle....
Lisa Sims, Inyo National Forest Fisheries Biologist& Aquatic Program Manager
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Re: Golden Trout Project - Part One and Two
Reply #11 - Jul 13th, 2006, 4:11am
 
Thanks for the nice post Mike and for your volunteer work.
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